Monday, June 27, 2011

Review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.

What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.

Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.


Believe it or not, it wasn’t actually the title that sold me on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Once I saw the cover, however, and promptly burst out laughing, I knew that I needed to own a copy of this book. Suffice it to say, I expected this book to be humorous, because although I find zombies scary, I also find them funny. While a few of the jokes and zombie attacks made me smile, I didn’t leave this book with any strong feelings about it.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies preserves a considerable amount of Jane Austen’s original text. Instead of being trained to be marriageable women, the Bennet girls spent their childhood learning to be warriors who could fight the dreadfuls. I don’t mind a bit of blood and guts on the pages of my book, and I felt the number of battle scenes was appropriate. A few quotes made me laugh out loud, but I was hoping for more humor overall.

Unfortunately, the characters in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies were so different from those in Austen’s original text, and that’s what stopped me from loving this book. Elizabeth was so bloodthirsty that I almost felt as though she lost some of her humanity. As part of her training she also participated in some rituals that I couldn’t really understand or relate to. Sure, Darcy was still swoonworthy, and Mrs. Bennet was still ridiculous, but that didn’t do it for me.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is by no means a bad retelling. It didn’t fit for me because it lacked some of the elements I was hoping for and excessively altered some of what I love about the original. However, if you read Pride and Prejudice and found that it lacks the action you crave, you should absolutely pick up this re-telling.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

2 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about Elizabeth. I was most bothered by her wanting to eat the hearts of her kill because, that is SO WEIRD! Cannibalism is just not cool. However, I enjoyed the book for the sheer fact that it was goofy. It wasn't a great or anything, but it was cute in its own deranged way. The pictures were fun and the relationship between Elizabeth and her father is still one of my favorites.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  2. I haven't read this one (though I own it), but I started reading P&P&Z: Dreadfully Ever After and couldn't get into it. I didn't mind how bloodthirsty Elizabeth was, but the random Chinese culture injections were confusing to me. I get that zombies popped up in old England, but why would that mean that Mr. Darcy's house has sloped roofs and jade doors? It just threw me off.

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